The Queen's Rivals by Brandy Purdy
Format: Paperback, 368 pages
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Their ambitions were ordinary, but they were born too close to the throne...
As cousins of history's most tempestuous queens, Ladies Jane, Katherine, and Mary Grey were born in an age when all of London lived beneath the Tower's menacing shadow. Tyrannized by Bloody Mary and the Virgin Queen, the sisters feared love was unthinkable —and the scaffold all but unavoidable...
Raised to fear her royal blood and what it might lead men to do in her name, Mary Grey dreads what will become of herself and her elder sisters under the reigns of Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I. On their honor, they have no designs on the crown, yet are condemned to solitude, forbidden to wed. Though Mary, accustomed to dwelling in the shadows, the subject of whispers, may never catch the eye of a gentleman, her beautiful and brilliant sisters long for freedoms that would surely cost their lives. And so, wizened for her years, Mary can only hope for divine providence amid a bleak present and a future at the whim of the throne — unless destiny gains the upper hand.
A gripping and bittersweet tale of broken families and broken hearts, courage and conviction, The Queen's Rivals recounts an astonishing chapter in the hard-won battle for the Tudor throne.
My thoughts: Ever since picking up Phillipa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl, I've been obsessed with any and all books about the Tudors and that time period in England. With each book I read, I find I learn more about all the major players of the time. This latest book by Brandy Purdy was certainly no exception and what I found to be most interesting is that it really paired well with another book I recently listened to, Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey by Alison Weir.
The Queen's Rivals is about the three Grey sisters: Jane, the brilliant one; Kate, the beautiful one; and Mary, the beastly little one; and is told from Mary's point of view, the one sister to outlive the others. Born with an affliction that caused her to be a dwarf, Mary was a unique choice for narrating this tale as she was mainly kept in the background and therefore observed much more than everyone probably realized. These three sisters find themselves to be pawns during a tumultuous time in England.
I've read a few books where Jane Grey, better known as the Nine Days Queen, is featured and so I knew a bit about her, but there's not as much out there about the other two sisters. It's easy to feel for these girls, who just want to live their lives the way they choose. Besides having a mother that is basically just horrible - all she cares about is appearances and how far she can rise within the court - they have to deal with pleasing their queen. They are not free to marry at will, and it is this basic right that leads to the downfall of Kate Grey. Even Mary, disfigured though she is, is really not free to follow her heart when she finally does fall in love.
This is the second book I've read by Brandy Purdy, having read The Queen's Pleasure, last year. I love the way she really develops the characters she writes about. After finishing her books, I end up feeling as if I knew the characters a bit more intimately than I did before reading the book.
I will definitely be reading more of Brandy Purdy's books and will also be looking to see if there are any other books out there about the Grey sisters. Have you read anything about them?
GIVEAWAY DETAILS - CLOSED (US only)
Thanks to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours I have one copy of The Queen's Rivals to give away to my readers.
- For 1 entry leave me a comment entering the giveaway.
- Tweet, share on Facebook, or blog for 2 extra entries.
- Please include email address so I can contact you if you win.